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Artist’s Ashes Go to US, Germany, Korea

Posted February. 01, 2006 03:04,   


The body of video artist Paik Nam-june, who passed away at his Miami home in Florida on January 29, will be cremated and his ashes will be sent to Korea, the U.S., and Germany, according to an insider at Nam June Paik studios in New York.

“Paik said that he wanted to be buried in Korea. So his body will be cremated and the ashes will be sent to Korea,” he said yesterday. “But some of the ashes will be placed in Germany and the U.S. It has not yet been decided whether they will also be sent elsewhere.”

Germany is included because that is where Paik studied as a young man and started his career as an artist. The U.S. was chosen because he also worked for a long time in the U.S., especially in New York.

His ashes will be placed in the Nam June Park Studio in New York and the Deutche Guggenheim Berlin in Germany.

But most of his ashes will be laid to rest in Korea.

Paik’s bereaved family, including Ken Paik Hakuta, Paik’s nephew who manages Paik’s studio in New York, will hold a press conference on the morning of January 31 and announce a formal funeral service schedule after Paik’s body is sent from Miami to New York on the evening of January 30.

The Korean Cultural Service in New York is holding a lifetime exhibition of Paik’s works titled, “Moving Time,” and will hold an event in memory of Paik on February 2.

Meanwhile, international media outlets covered Paik’s death. The New York Times ran an obituary titled, “Nam June Paik, 73, Dies; Pioneer of Video Art Whose Work Broke Cultural Barriers.”

The New York Times described him as an artist who was widely considered the inventor of video art, and an artist whose chief means of expression was television, which he approached with high entertainment value. It went on to say his work could be kitschy, visually dazzling and profound, sometimes all at once, and was often irresistibly funny and high-spirited.”

The Associated Press and Agence France Presse also reported his death.

The internet edition of Speigel, a German weekly magazine, introduced him as “the father of video art” and focused on the fact that Germany is where he studied and received much of his artistic inspiration.

The Sud Deutche Zeitung, a German daily, said that Paik showed an interest in experimental music as early as the 1950s and that he shocked audiences with performance art, such as breaking musical instruments.

Jong sik Kong kong@donga.com